This week Facebook memories brought me a solar sketch from 2011. It reminded me just how much I love drawing the sun. It is always a massive challenge to capture detail using the 40 mm objective offered by my tiny solar telescope. On every occasion , the dilemma of drawing solar detail requires experimentation with materials.
In my field of view, the solar disc presents itself as a restless circle a little more than 20 mm or so in diameter. The entire disc is covered in a matrix of fibrils like brain dendrites. This pattern still cries out for a method to depict it in a drawing. Depending on the detail offered on any given day, I would use a dinner plate, side plate or CD to create the orb in full on in part. Obviously, I draw the action more extensively than it is to the eye. Otherwise, not very many people could look at it without a magnifying glass.
Grated pastel is a material that lends itself best to solar sketching in colour. At least, that is part of my effort to capture the sun in the h-alpha view. The atmosphere can help or hinder a drawing like this. Brief moments of perfect clarity followed by tortuous eye-straining to see any detail at all. Sometimes I wish there was an easy access space-based observatory for humans.
There were several proms on the solar limb. These seemed to be the most interesting on the eastern limb.Some magnetic field lines around AR 1283 stood out for several seconds in reasonable detail, so I sketched them in with pencil over the pastel. That’s why they appear a little shiny as pencil does that when used over pastel. Mindfulness
Obviously, I am constantly retuning and refocusing the telescope to capture all these features on a piece of paper. The sketch was created using a CD. The features of the sun exist at many levels in the solar atmosphere. One can only try to capture them as they are offered. Nevertheless, it is a privilege to observe our star in as much detail as possible. Being mindful of the suns role in the formation of the solar system while drawing is very grounding.